The curious case of CCI's TAM Media investigation

MUMBAI: The TV ratings tornado that had struck the industry a couple of months ago has died down and it appears as if even the same has happened with the TAM Media investigation being conducted by the Competition Commission of India (CCI). Of course the CCI will deny it, but, it does seem so.


The deadline for the responses to the queries sent out to media industry stakeholders by the CCI was 18 July.


"We had received the questionnaire by the enquiry committee of CCI on 18 July. The responses to which were sent to them on the same day. After that we have not received any update from CCI," informs a highly placed official in Prasar Bharati.


It may be recalled that the CCI had started the investigation post a complaint filed by Prasar Bharati against the audience measurement agency for anti-competitive practices in November last year. The complaint was filed under section 4 of the Competition Act 2002, which pertains to abuse of a dominant position by a market player.


"We are still in the process of collecting data from the stakeholders. The matter is still being investigated," informs a source from the CCI. The body has asked for an extension to collect the data. "There is a provision to extend the time frame and we are seeking extensions to ensure a proper investigation," adds the source who refuses to comment any further on the investigation.


It was in late June, this year that the CCI had started sending out notices to key players in the media and entertainment industry seeking information on TAM in order to ascertain whether there was any case to be made against it. The notice sent by CCI was just the first step to find out what reported "wrongs" was TAM Media doing.


When contacted TAM for its comment on the same, a TAM representative responded by say, "We have decided not to comment on the investigation."


With CCI not yet completing the first step of investigation, how long will the body take to come out with its final verdict? Or are more pressing matters taking up its attention? "You can't forget, things such as these have a process and take time," says a media observer. "Don't be surprised if a damning report against TAM emerges closer to the time of the ratings launch under BARC next year."

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